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Game Over... continue? Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga

I may be jumping the gun a bit with this one... my girlfriend and I are working our way through Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga. We are currently at about 49% completion and have been playing for over 20 hours already. But I've played the other two games (Lego Star Wars: The Video Game and Lego Star Wars: The Original Series) to 100% completion. Since The Complete Saga is just a combination of the two, I'm comfortable saying I know what's gonna happen, lol! Plus I've seen the movies like 100 times each (that's no exaggeration either). I have no issue writing a review of it;^) By the time we get all the way through this one I expect it'll be in the neighborhood of 60 to 70 hours to achieve total success. For a 'kids' game, it's stunningly deep and can be quite challenging!

So let's get the easy stuff out of the way... it's a Lego game. The graphics are pretty straightforward... they're Legos... duh! Of course, they aren't particularly flashy or anything, just functional. As for the soundtrack, um it's Star Wars... again, duh! It's John Williams legendary score! The story is a retelling of each film in short, silent, simple scenes that capture the 'flavor' of iconic Star Wars moments. Personally, I think they're hilarious. Plus you can play with a friend, who can join the fun or drop right back out at any point!

The gameplay is quite simplistic as well. You can jump, attack (swing lightsaber or fire your blaster), or use the 'action' button. The 'action' button allows you to use your Force powers if you are playing as a Jedi, or 'build' a Lego construction to open new paths and help you on your way. Different characters have different abilities. That's pretty much it, this game was designed for children after all! But once you get through the 'Story Mode' you unlock 'Free Play,' and that is where the fun and challenge really begins...

When you first play through a level you will see doors you can't unlock or areas you can't access because the characters you are playing with don't have the necessary abilities or equipment. But when you go back to replay a level the second time in 'Free Play' you get an entire team to tackle the challenge. What's really clever though is that, while you can only pick one player, the computer will put together the rest of your team so that you will have a group of characters that can access everything you need to explore every nook and cranny. The tools are at your disposal, if you miss something it's on you! And some of these levels are massive, with a lot of hidden areas. You really need to be on point to discover everything they have to offer. The environments are all wonderfully realized from the Star Wars movies, and cleverly transformed into Lego form. There are even piloting levels (what would Star Wars be without being able to pilot an X-Wing down the trenches on the Death Star!), and while I don't like them nearly as much as the platforming areas, they are still good fun!

The famous Mos Eisley Cantina, complete with iconic music, serves as your central hub. It breaks down like this. Each movie has it's own area, and once there you can access each section (each film has 6 levels, totaling 36 overall). To get 100% completion you need to collect Gold Bricks. There are 160 of them (3 per level, plus some others). You get one for completing the story mode. One for collecting a certain number of studs, or coins, from each level to achieve 'True Jedi' status. All those coins you collect can then be used to purchase new characters for use in 'Free Play' mode.

Finally, you get one for collecting all 10 Lego canisters that are hidden throughout each level. Some of them are deviously hidden, you'll need to scour every corner! Each canister opens a piece of a 'minikit,' and when put together they create a Lego model of an iconic Star Wars vehicle (X-Wing, TIE fighter, AT-AT etc). But you're not done there either! You can play the level though again in 'Challenge Mode,' to find blue minikit canisters (which are located in different areas to the regular white ones). The kicker here is that you only have a certain amount of time to do it which makes it that much more challenging!

Then there are the 'Red Bricks'. Each level has a hidden red brick, that will appear when you do something specific, say turn on all the lights in a hallway using the Force. Some of these are very cleverly hidden, I've actually had to look them up online. This is usually followed by an "Ohhhhhhh... I see" moment. The red bricks are then used to unlock special powers from the 'Extras' menu. They are things like 'Fast Build' or 'Super lightsabers,' but also have random effects like "Disguises' (where all the characters, including the ships, wear fake glasses and mustaches) or 'Daisy Chains' (where the grappling hook like is made a flowers). Necessary? No, definitely not. Funny? I'd say so, I was giggling constantly...

With all these options to replay every level you might think it would get old... but it's surprisingly addictive, more so than you might imagine. You want to go back and find everything. That said, it can be quite frustrating in places as well. When you come up just short of getting enough coins for 'True Jedi' and you know you're going to have to go back and do it all again... well, I find my patience wearing thin sometimes. I just can't play too much of it without getting frustrated... but then again, this is one of those games that can sit on the shelf for months and months, and we can pick it right back up again.

While it will take us quite a while of chipping away at Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga to get the illusive 100% completion, I still don't think I'll sell it. That's saying something... that even after there is nothing left to accomplish, we'll hang onto it because it's something different and simple and fun that's still good for a laugh occasionally;^)

Cheers,

Si

Score = 8.5 / 10

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